I’ve been doing a lot of re-evaluating over the past several months; doing my best to learn more about myself and what I want in (and out of) my life.
I’ve come to the realization that I’m not much different than the girl I was at sixteen, and I mean this in a good way. For one, I still crave time to myself – I need that time to recharge and refocus on what is important to me.
Throughout the day, each of us can feel bombarded with work projects, noise, traffic, and crowds. I need a way to wash this all away. When I was sixteen, I had no regrets about staying in and writing on a Friday night, no second thoughts about not going to dances, but instead cut & pasting magazines on the floor of my room. I was focused and deliberate, unconcerned and introspective.
Somehow, during the few years after graduating college, I fell out of this routine. I felt that in order to experience life the way it was meant to be experienced, I needed to constantly have a full social calendar. Not only did this hurt my bank account (hello, you are working two part time, minimum wage jobs… what are you doing?!), it also led me to lose that focus and creativity that had been so much a part of who I was and always had been. And although I was too sidetracked and distracted to be fully aware at the time, this part of me was always ticking away inside, trying to get my attention. I would get a jolt of inspiration in the middle of some mundane activity; I would randomly remember a poem I had written ten years prior; I would get sparks of creativity in specific lighting or when listening to certain types of music. My creative side was trying to speak to me, and though I would sometimes do my best to follow it, that part of my brain and self was out of shape and needed serious re-training.
Creativity is a hard muscle to reactivate; often times I recall my teenage self, in the midst of the most creative I’ve ever been, sitting completely stumped, uninspired, and therefore frustrated at the lack of ideas coming to me. It’s something that can’t be forced or forged; like most things in life, it must come in its own time. (I must note that my patience is also another feature of my sixteen-year-old self that has proved the test of time.)
I am still trying to regain my focus and redirect myself to what I find truly important. My need to recharge and recenter has reached its limits and staying inside to write no longer reaps the benefits it once did. The years of exploring and calendar filling has made me crave creative experience not only out of my room, but also out of the city.
Several weeks ago, this pull to leave the city reached its peak; on my commute into work one Friday morning, I decided that on Saturday morning I would drive – just drive and end up at the coast. I didn’t have a plan past that. I wasn’t sure if I’d stay the night somewhere, or where exactly the destination was. I thought about it all day at work: the blurred trees through the open car window, the sound of the waves on sand, and how the fresh, misty air would feel on my skin.
When I arrived, my first glimpse of the ocean crashing before me took my breath away and created an instantaneous lump in my throat. I realized I was reconnecting with something I didn’t know I had missed so deeply. My eyes filled with salt water and I thought they might crash to my cheeks, but instead: I smiled.